Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Horses and dogs cannot count but numerous people believe any medical research

When I was young, our parents took us to a ‘world circus’ run by one couple. They had a meager horse. It could count and do mathematics.

The head of the family would say to the horse: how many fingers do I hold up now? And the horse would scrape the ground that number of times. He would repeat with different numbers from the public and the horse did it always right. Then he would say: how much is two plus four? Right again.

He did this so many times (it was one of the main attraction of his circus), that I noticed that the horse stopped scraping, every time the boss looked up. Then he said: it can predict the future too. Is there any engaged couple here? There was. Tell them how many children they will get. The man did not look up, the horse kept scraping and everyone roared with laughter.

Now medical researchers want to convince us that dogs can count. No, I’m not kidding. But they are more sophisticated, trying to find money for their laboratory. How did they do it?

Let’s say that they know what brain areas get activated when we drive a car. Now they look at these brain areas in dogs while they walk and low and behold, they are extra active when they walk. That means that we use those things-passing-by areas when we drive. But that doesn’t mean dog could drive. But that’s how they did it.

They know what brain area gets activated when we do math. Now they looked at these brain areas in dogs while showing them pics with dots. Low and behold, the same brain area is extra active when the numbers change. Dogs can count. Rather, we use that brain area when we count. But that doesn’t mean dogs could count. But that’s how they did it.

It may come in handy for a dog to know if the whole litter is trotting behind her or one is missing. But knowing to count is quite a different thing. Maybe it could count its blessings but that would be it.

Medical researchers should be penalized when fooling the media or the public, the more misleading, the higher the penalty. That should teach them not to count their chickens before they hatch.


And then there is the news about a ‘robotic police dog.’ You read the article and discover it’s rather a robot than a dog. There is a fundamental difference between a flashlight (a torch) and a light flash (a beam of light). A robotic dog is a dog with a chip, a doglike-robot is a robot on four legs.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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